UFC 286: Leon Edwards outpoints Kamaru Usman to retain welterweight title in edgy main event

Leon Edwards outpointed Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 on Saturday, retaining the welterweight title in a nervous main event at London’s O2 Arena.

Edwards dethroned the dominant Usman in August, stunning the Nigerian-American with a head kick knockout with a minute left on the clock after being held in check for most of the fight. That result followed the pair’s meeting in 2015, which Usman won on points with a comfortable wrestling display against the Jamaican-born Briton.

And so fans were left to guess this week if Usman would once again beat Edwards in wrestling en route to victory, or if his successor could conjure up a moment of mixed martial arts magic once again.

But ultimately, there was to be no domineering display or deified strike; Edwards’ discipline, and lack thereof, at times, proved decisive.

Beneath the towering dome of the O2, reverberating with every roar from the London crowd, the rivals completed their trilogy with their most competitive competition by far.

Using a variety of kicks, knees and elbows, the 31-year-old Edwards seemed to push through the tense first two rounds, before the playing field seemed to even out after Round 3. It was in that third frame that Usman began to find his wrestling form, while Edwards was deducted a point for holding the fence to stay on his feet, though the champion also employed effective defensive wrestling to stay on his feet fairly on numerous occasions.

In any event, Edwards looked at risk of losing further points, as referee Herb Dean warned him about grabbing the glove of Usman, who also complained of multiple alleged groin kicks.

However, Edwards’ quality held up where his composure sometimes wavered. Although a close round 4 didn’t leave the outcome clearer, Edwards produced an impressive final frame at a pivotal moment.

Edwards (left) outboxed Usman for much of the fight and employed effective defensive wrestling.

(Action Images via Reuters)

“Rocky” denied his challenger multiple takedowns, intermittently goading the 35-year-old with uppercuts and leg kicks, as Usman continued to advance, unfazed, in search of a decisive moment.

In the end, the only deciding moment was the reveal of the judges’ scorecards, which scored 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 in favor of Edwards.

In the co-main event, Usman’s teammate Justin Gaethje was on the right side of a majority decision, beating Rafael Fiziev 29-28, 29-28, 28-28 in fight of the night.

Full results from UFC 286

Principal card

Justin Gaethje (left) narrowly edged out Rafael Fiziev in the main event

(fake images)

Leon Edwards (C) def. Kamaru Usman via majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47)

Justin Gaethje def. Rafael Fifiziev via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)

Gunnar Nelson def. Bryan Barberena via first-round submission (armbar, 4:51)

Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)


Jack Shore ‘didn’t want to take’ UFC 286 fight due to his father’s chemotherapy

Jack Shore def Makwan Amirkhani via second-round submission (rear-naked choke, 4:27)

Loss of Chris Duncan. Omar Morales via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson via first-round KO (punches, 1:15)

Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho via third-round submission (rear-naked choke, 2:42)

first preliminaries

Lerone Murphy def. Gabriel Santos via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Christian Leroy Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via first-round TKO (knee injury, 1:52)

Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via first-round TKO (body shots, 1:01)

Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein ends in majority tie (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

Veronica Hardy def. Juliana Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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